By Henrik Nielsen, M.Sc.
Potential patients are, in increasing numbers, using online resources to research various services including hearing healthcare. What about the older population mostly served by hearing healthcare providers?
Studies demonstrate that adaptation to the internet for the 65 years and older age group has grown at a rapid pace. Data from the US Census (ACS 1917) shows that 74% of the population 65 years or older have broadband internet. This suggests an increasing likelihood that older age groups will use the internet to locate or evaluate healthcare providers and services.
Patients are using online reviews as a source for gaining insight into specific healthcare practices. A survey by Search Engine Land shows that 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The most important factor for online reviews is the star rating.
A study done by Zocdoc showed that an increase from a 3.5 out of 5 star average to a 4 out of 5 star average equated to an increase in doctors appointments by 37%.
This demonstrates that obtaining more reviews with excellent ratings on sites like Google, Facebook, and your practice website will have a dramatic impact on your ability to attract new patients.
Online appointment booking
Eventually, potential patients will end up on your website, often outside of your normal business hours. With 24/7 access to your website, potential patients should have an opportunity to commit to an appointment with your practice instantly through an online booking tool. The data shows that approximately one-third of all online appointment bookings are done outside of what the hearing healthcare industry considers “normal business hours.”
So how do you control what part of your schedule is visible to the world on your website? Blueprint Solutions has developed an online appointment booking tool that allows your practice to control available times, providers and appointment types that can be booked online. Differing availability can be set up for new or existing patients, while ensuring certain resources (such as a sound booth) are not double-booked. An online appointment booking appears on the practice schedule immediately, flagged for your review. Additionally, patients will automatically receive email appointment reminders as part of the process.
Cost Effective Ways to Drive Revenue
Online tools like online reviews and online appointment booking are cost-effective and drive incremental revenue to your practice while improving your overall clinic image. Easily implemented at very low costs, these tools give your patients options for how and when they interact with your practice.
Henrik Nielsen, President of Blueprint Solutions, has over ten years of experience in software design and development and over twenty years of experience within the hearing aid industry. He has held management positions in information technology, sales, marketing, general management and operations. Nielsen has served on the HIMSA US board, the Noah technical committee and the HIA advertising committee. He has also published several articles on improving operational practice efficiency and holds a master degree in economics.
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